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Captain Alatriste | [Arturo Perez-Reverte]

Captain Alatriste

Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional 17th-century Spanish soldier who, after being wounded in battle during the Thirty Years' War, is forced to retire from the army. Now he lives the comparatively tame, though hardly quiet, life of a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid. Approached with an offer of work, Alatriste is told to go with another hired blade to an unfamiliar part of the city at midnight and wait.
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Publisher's Summary

Captain Alatriste is the story of a fictional 17th-century Spanish soldier who, after being wounded in battle during the Thirty Years' War, is forced to retire from the army. Now he lives the comparatively tame, though hardly quiet, life of a swordsman-for-hire in Madrid. Approached with an offer of work, Alatriste is told to go with another hired blade to an unfamiliar part of the city at midnight and wait. They are received by men who explain that they want Alatriste and his companion to ambush two travelers the following evening, stage a robbery, and give the men a fright. "No blood," they are told.

But then a third figure enters the room. He says the job requires some clarification: he increases the pay, and tells them that, instead, they must murder the two travelers. Then he reveals his identity: Emilio Bocanegra. It is a name synonymous with the Spanish Inquisition, the bloodiest name in Europe. This is a man whose requests cannot be denied.

But the following night, with the attack imminent, it becomes clear to Alatriste that these aren't ordinary travelers. And what happens next is only the first in a series of riveting twists and turns, with implications that will reverberate throughout the courts of Europe.

For anyone who loves the work of Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte, and those who have not yet discovered the delights of this extraordinary writer, Captain Alatriste is one of the most stylish, singular pleasures to come along in years.

Captain Alatriste is translated from Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden.

©2005 Arturo Perez-Reverte; (P)2005 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Splendidly paced and filled with a breathtaking but not overwhelming sense of the history and spirit of the age, this is popular entertainment at its best: the characters have weight and depth, the dialogue illuminates the action as it furthers the story, and the film-worthy plot is believable throughout." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Adina R. Montgomery Canoga Park, CA USA 07-26-05
    Adina R. Montgomery Canoga Park, CA USA 07-26-05 Listener Since 2004

    QueenOfHarps

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good story...reader could be better."

    The story is wonderful but I didn't care for the reader all that much. I prefer a narrator who makes the story flow a bit better.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mosselyn Campbell, CA USA 08-07-05
    mosselyn Campbell, CA USA 08-07-05 Member Since 2002

    colemanka

    HELPFUL VOTES
    50
    ratings
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    223
    14
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    Overall
    "Almost a good book, but not quite"

    When the story is in motion, this is a pretty good book. Unfortunately, there are many excursions into philosophy, politics, and history which bog the story down. Sometimes, these little side trips occur in the midst of otherwise tense scenes, which I found jarring. The commentary adds nice color to the story, but takes the swash out of the buckle. A word on the narrator: He reads feelingly, but in a way that makes every sentence sound like a profound pronouncement.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cjwheeler 12-14-08
    cjwheeler 12-14-08 Member Since 2005

    I love BOOKS and reading, listening is as good when I can't look at the book. I listen every minute driving.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    137
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    421
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    "I enjoyed it."

    This is the first book in a series and I found it to be fun and enjoyable. I have read and listened to other books by this author and have both like some and disliked others.

    I listened to this book and enjoyed it so much that I bought and read the other two books that have become available.

    The Captain Alatriste novels are not in-depth books but adventures that are quick and fun and I can't wait for the next book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald Washington, UT, USA 08-11-05
    Ronald Washington, UT, USA 08-11-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Too much lost in translation"

    The book was slow to get going. I had to stop after about 30 minutes and move on to something more interesting.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Howard Scottsdale, AZ, United States 07-22-08
    Howard Scottsdale, AZ, United States 07-22-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    136
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    28
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    2
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    Overall
    "A Fun Read."

    I like to read a book that's fun, but I also like it to have literary merit. The combination is not so easy to find. Captain Alatriste is a romp set in 17th Century Spain, the height of Spain's golden age, that is a fun story to read, but is also satisfying from a literary perspective. It is very well researched, but is not what I would call an historical novel. Although mention is made of some well-know personages such as Velazquez and King Philip IV of Spain, they play only a peripheral role in the plot, the main participants of which are purely fictional, as is the story itself. The protagonist, Captain Alatriste, is a swordsman, a hired gun with principles of a sort, that is when he's not killing someone, who is interesting enough that I wanted him not only to survive (not a problem since without him the series ends), but also to resolve the tension between his ideals and chosen line of work. To me, one of the greatest virtues of the book is its sense of time and place; I felt part of the scene. Also, although this might not sound like an endorsement, I liked the fact that the book was only six hours long. It was beautifully read. Since this is the first book in the series, I eagerly look forward to reading the rest, which are already published. Until I do so, I'm going to read a little about Spanish history of the period, which I haven't approached since college. Finally, one suggestion: I found the long Spanish names difficult to assimilate (e.g., Alvaro Luis Gonzaga de la Marca y Alvarez de Sidonia), so I copied a list of characters from Wikipedia and kept it by my side while I listened to the audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean San Diego, CA 05-16-05
    Sean San Diego, CA 05-16-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    3
    FOLLOWERS
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    0
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    Overall
    "Auturo Perez-Reverte is a great writer!"

    Great book. The reader used good tonality, making the story suspenseful. Perez-Reverte is one of the best writers........all of his books are amazing.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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